Letter to the editor 4, April 21, 2016

Dear Editor,

"You are breaking the law, according to article 168 of the Education Act. This conduct is a disgrace!”

That's what I said at the Pearson board Executive Committee meeting on April 18, 2016, following the chairman's attempt to prevent me from speaking at Public Question Period time.

This is another example of the need for Bill 86 which, among other things, scraps executive committees, and grants leadership roles to parents, teachers, principals and support staff in the running of their schools.

After a few weeks of parliamentary hearings on the draft law, where briefs were submitted, one theme became apparent.

There is a clash between parent organizations and school board associations. The former accuse the boards of using intimidation tactics, in attempts to bully and harass people, who critically analyze boards' decisions.

Since the inception of linguistic school boards, in 1998, I have been involved, strictly as a volunteer, in school board matters. This involvement included participating at board meetings, letter-writing on education issues, and even submitting a brief on Bill 86. (Briefs are online on the National Assembly site.)

Moreover, as a former teacher, I can state without any hesitation, the following:

There is not one shred of evidence to show the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), in its entire history, has been of any pedagogical, cultural, and economic value to any English school, classroom or student.

Whereas former Education Ministers Pauline Marois (textbooks), François Legault (school fees), Line Beauchamp (governance), and Michelle Courchesne, creator of Bill 88 which gave us more parent commissioners and student ombudsmen, have been more helpful to the Anglo community than the QESBA ever was.

The loudest complaint made by the English and French school board associations is that Bill 86 grants new powers to the Minister of Education.

Specifically they refer to amendment 459.6, which states, "... the Minister may issue directives to a school board concerning its administration, organization, operation and actions."

This is good because sometimes the public needs protection from the boards.

With this rule in place, the public would be much better served because the government would be the place to go, to appeal poor school board decisions, and to report the abuse of power.

The government must demonstrate who's boss by passing Bill 86.

Chris Eustace


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